NUI Maynooth Meeting

National University of Ireland Maynooth - Claiming Our Future seminar 6th October 2010

In attendance: Applied Social studies Students.

Main points from discussion groups on the Choices document.

Group 1.

1. Pursue economic development that serves people.

Policy priority:

Develop the social and economic infrastructure to serve the interests of the whole population.

  • Infrastructure as it stands doesn’t work. Needs to be restructured, overhauled and stabilised
  • Need to make allowances for other factors for change e.g. Job creation, renewable energy.
  • Emphasis on disadvantaged communities with an emphasis on equality.
  • Think outside of the box.
  • Look at the existing skills that people have individually and collectively.
  • Sustainability and growth.
  • Consultative process with all the stakeholders

What’s missing?

  • How will policies be monitored?
  • How will policies be implemented?
  • Gap between policies and the people.

Group 2.

2. A more ambitious response to environmental challenges.

Policy priority:

Implement a renewed sustainable development strategy that caps resource use and emissions and that secures investment for sustainable development.

  • National audit of natural and renewable resources and how they can be utilised.
  • Use the open method of co-ordination.
  • Educational program – enforcing green schools, community and youth work.
  • Re-claiming and using our natural resources. Trees, oil and gas, fish, wind farming.
  • Penalty system – not necessarily monetary or court appearance. Possibly linked to tax credits, social welfare etc. the infrastructure must be in place first.

What’s missing?

  • Policy implementation
  • The implementation of a global policy for environmental challenges.

Group 3.

3. Enhanced economic, social and cultural participation.

Policy priority:

Reduce relative poverty and eliminate consistent poverty.

  • Labour and education links into reducing poverty.
  • Bridging the gap between rich and the poor.
  • Focus our energy into ourselves and our relative poverty to form a more equal, social and cultural society.
  • Empowerment of people: giving them the options to pull themselves out of poverty.
  • Increase moral.
  • Raising the people on the bottom raises everyone in society.
  • Highlighting our own poverty within Ireland.
  • Break down social barriers thus creating solidarity.
  • Keep people from the poverty margin.

What’s missing?

  • Flaw to include cultural and economic in this point. Both merit their own point.
  • Equal distribution of resources.
  • Make Ireland take a good look at itself.

Group 4.

4. Public sector renewal.

Policy priority.

Develop new approaches to the front line delivery of public services.

  • Wasted funds and time.
  • Lack of communication and participation.
  • Lack of leadership.
  • Lack of accountability and transparency.
  • Education, informal, formal.

What’s missing?

  • Very broad spectrum of policies.
  • Statements not policies.
  • Need to be more specific. Too broadly sketched.
  • How do we build the pressure within civil society?

Group 5.

5. Reformed taxation and income policies.

Policy priority:

Achieve greater income equality through wage, tax and income policies that ensure maximum income is not more than a specific multiple of the minimum income and ensure every person has a guaranteed minimum income sufficient to live life with dignity.

  • What is the min/max? linking this to dignity.
  • How to redistribute wealth- min wage or social welfare
  • Trying to convince government- vote out.
  • Society built on consumerism.

What’s missing?

  • How do we attract foreign business? And how do we tax this?
  • Showing the benefits to society. E.g. From other countries were it is working. Sweden.
  • Less social problems.
  • Local taxes?

Group 6.

6. Democratic reform.

Policy priority:

Enhance democratic participation by investing in the advocacy role of civil society organisations and in citizenship educations in schools.

  • Agreement that democracy is the best way. Through the educational system.
  • Agreement that point no. 1 is also very relevant here but that you can’t get to achieve no.1 without doing no.3 first….
  • This is a long term policy plan and not a short term one.
  • Be mindful of tokenism.

What’s missing?

  • Inequalities in the educational system.

Overall ….

The 6 groups felt that the following areas needed more focus within the document.

  • Education
  • Solid alternatives. People are afraid of change.
  • Human rights.
  • Accountability. Justice.
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